More on last night’s kayaking

My elbows are still a little tender today, but not really scarily sore like they were yesterday.

I forgot to mention something funny from yesterday. I got out of the kayak and stood up, and immediately fell over. My entire legs had fallen asleep, both of them. I’ve never had that happen before. I think I have to convince the kayak place to take those misplaced thigh pads out or switch to a different boat.

Probably not the smartest thing I’ve ever done…

…but it was fun.

My elbows have been painful all week, so it wasn’t the smartest thing to go paddling today. But I look some Alieve and vowed to concentrate on good technique and keeping my wrists relaxed. It probably helped. My elbows don’t feel much worse than they did before.

We got there around 6pm. The guy working there asked if we could be back by 7, because he had a birthday party to go to. I was a little reluctant, because normally we go for an hour and a half or more. But then he said “Oh wait, you guys are in the frequent paddler program, right? Ok, I’ll just leave the padlocks on the paddle and life jacket racks open, and you can just put everything away and lock up when you’re done.” Cool. It’s nice to be trusted.

As we were getting ready to leave, a woman left in her own fibreglas kayak. She looked like she knew what she was doing as she headed up stream. The thunderstorms of this weekend have raised the creek level and flushed out the stinky algae we encountered last week. It also meant we were facing a stronger than usual current.

I don’t know why, but it seems like practically nobody was on the creek today. We saw a few people, but we also saw plenty of turtles, swans and herons, more so than we usually see in an evening. Three quarters of the way up to the wier, that same woman we saw heading up was coming down, this time with two other women. She told us that the weir was nearly impassable. We got there and found she was absolutely right – there were trees blocking the non-passable parts of the weir that were forcing all the water through the middle part, and the middle part had an extremely strong current going through it.

Vicki held back while I tried it. I started very strong going up one side eddy, but as soon as I put the nose of the kayak into the stream I got pushed sideways and I also got rolled a bit. I should have been expecting that, but it’s been too long since I’ve done this sort of thing. The fact that I got surprised by it and nearly took on water in the cockpit made me decide to not do this – I didn’t want to swamp way the hell up the creek. If I’d had a spray skirt, I would have continued. But instead I just braced and ferried into the other eddie.

Vicki and I headed back, and it sure was fun going with the strong current. Vicki was really getting into it, and paddling much harder than usual. That suited me just fine, because it meant I could paddle closer to the speed I paddle when I’m alone, which is a more efficient and better exercise speed for me.

Even though we took the long way home, we got back just on 7pm, and the guy was closing up. We put our stuff away without his help, and he refused to take our money even though we used up our pre-paid rental hours. I guess we’ll get him next time. It’s nice to be trusted.

Man I wish my elbows didn’t hurt so much.

My new favourite boat

Today Vicki and I went kayaking again. This time, instead of the tried and true Dagger Magellan that I usually use, I took the Valley Canoe Products Avocet RM. I think it’s a bit shorter boat, and it was definitely quite a bit narrower. It was a tight squeeze getting in and out, and the sides of the seat were pressing into me quite hard the whole time, but the firm connection made me feel much more a part of the boat. I had perfect control of the tilt of the boat just by thinking about it, and being narrower in the water as well, I could paddle closer to my body which I liked. It seemed fast, and it seemed to hit that sweet spot between tracking well and being able to turn when you wanted. It had a skeg but I never used it – but it’s nice to think that if I needed better tracking to get over a windy lake I could have it. In comparison, the Magellan was a better tracker, but there were times when I wanted to turn it and it seemed to take too much effort.

Vicki had the other Avocet RM, and she liked it too. She started out with the skeg down, since she’s found the other boats they had almost uncontrollable without one. But after having trouble making it around a few corners, she seemed to mostly paddle with it up, except maybe on some straight-aways.

The only thing I’m concerned about is that several web sites say it’s for paddlers up to 180 pounds. I’m considerably heavier than that – I was heavier than that when I was skiing in the Canadian Ski Marathon and I’ll never be that fit or that light again. I don’t know enough about kayaking to know what is wrong with paddling a kayak meant for a smaller person. Obviously I won’t get the optimal hull profile in the water, but am I in danger of swamping? Or is it just that I’d be limited in the gear I can carry? Because if that’s the only problem, it’s not problem – I don’t intend to carry anything more than a lunch.